Edward Owen Gaffney, 84, of Old Saybrook, formerly of Berlin and Meriden, son of Oswald and Anna (Flynn) Gaffney, died on April 11, after a long and brave battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family, leaving Ree, a loving, loyal wife of 53 years; three incredibly, devoted, loving children: daughters, Christine Ruszczyk and son-in-law Mark of Rockville, Maryland, Colleen Gaffney of Newton, Massachusetts, and son Edward J. Gaffney and daughter-in-law Gisele of Chelsea, Massachusetts; and beloved grandchildren Trevor, McKenzie, and Nate. He also leaves his singing cohort brother Dennis and sister-in-law Joanne, sister Peg Roberts and brother-in-law Bill of Tierra Verde, Florida, brother Bob of Wilmington, Vermont, and sisters-in-law Donna Gaffney of Meriden and Barbara Gaffney Lupa and husband Walt of North Carolina. He was predeceased by brothers Jim and Tim. He also leaves his morning coffee friend and cousin Kate Delaney and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Born in Meriden, the oldest of six, Ed graduated from Wilcox Technical School and Cheshire Academy. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts from Central Connecticut State University and was in the Naval Reserve there from 1960 to 1963. He went on to receive a master’s degree in special education from the University of Connecticut. He and brother Jim opened Gaff’s Sporting Goods Store in downtown Meriden.
Ed taught at Southington High School and Mansfield Training School. After the closing of Mansfield, he became manager of the Hartford Project for the disabled. He founded and was the executive director of the Work Bank, Inc., located on the top floor of the Colt building, providing jobs for the intellectually challenged.
Ed was also past president of the Old Saybrook Lion’s Club for four years, initiating many projects including the Old Saybrook Foundation. Ed loved boats and even built a sailboat with his good friend John Lewis! He loved his favorite hobby of fishing, along with skiing, gardening and being with family and friends. Ed will be remembered for his Irish humor and songs—with a smile for everyone! He was an inspirational man!
A celebration of life Mass will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at St. John’s Church, 161 Main Street, Old Saybrook, with a reception following at Madison Beach Hotel, 94 West Wharf Road, Madison. The family will have a private ceremony with his ashes at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: OJ Gaffney-Matt Noonan Award ℅Patrick M. Noonan, 137 Overshores Drive Madison, CT 06443 or Old Saybrook Lion’s Foundation, P.O. Box 21, Old Saybrook, CT 06475.